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Thread: Trouble with 1/4 inch seam - It wants to pull away.

  1. #26
    Super Member paulswalia's Avatar
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    is your needle centered, or has it been moved left or right of center? If the fabric is not being fed evenly by both feed dogs, it would tend to pull to one side. could have happened during service!
    We are here to learn how to live in heaven - I'm still learning.

  2. #27
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    Are you using a straight stitch throat plate? That's the one with the small neeldle hole. Also make
    sure you are using a sharp needle.

  3. #28
    Super Member MaggieLou's Avatar
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    I let my fabric feed through my right hand and hold my left index finger next to the fabric as is goes under the presser foot. It seems to help keep a straight stitch. It could also be your feed dogs not working properly.
    Margaret

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  4. #29
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    How frustrating for you! There are a lot of good suggestions here and I am going to add two more (thought it was just one, but have already thought of another :-/ ). 1) since you have a shop to service the machine, check with them for their suggestions - tell them what is happening if you didn't do that when you had it in for service; 2) very helpful tip I learned in my last quilting class - reduce your PRESSER FOOT tension (not the thread tension) to 4 or 4.5 - it doesn't 'push' the fabric around and made a huge difference for me. Good luck!

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZugZug View Post
    Machine just came back from annual check up/cleaning so im reluctant to think that especially since everything seems the same as before (this is the first time I have used this machine to piece, I usually garmet sew on it). The pull is slight. Aftersewing four strips together, I am off by 1/16th of an inch. The cover has always had movement, even my new BL Esante has the same amount of movement on the little slide that covers the bobbin case (movement is like 1/32 of an inch, not much but makes it hard to attach anything to it). Main complaint about the slide cover is that it has to be removed to replace the bobbin so anything you place over it has to come off to put in a new bobbin, and then its time to "find" my 1/4" spot again. Maybe its just me and I should stick to my garmet sewing.
    I have a top loading bobbin also, and I like to use painters tape in addition to my 1/4" foot. I positioned the painters tape, then used an X-acto knife to cut around the bobbin cover. Worked like a charm. The tape is always there without any repositioning.

    Why do I use both tape and 1/4" foot, you ask? When using squares to sew HSTs I like up the corners on the tape and I don't waste time drawing diagonal lines. It really does work.
    Shirley in Arizona

  6. #31
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    Also, for your stitching guides you don't want to move to get to your bobbin (I'm in that club!), you could draw a line on your machine bed or cut your tape pieces so you have one on the machine bed and a separate one on the bobbin cover - mine slides right off and on without messing up the tape (I couldn't stand to draw on my baby!).

  7. #32
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    When I started sewing (bought a cheap White at Joanns) I had horrible issues too w/that 1/4" seam. As a beginning quilter/sewer it was very frustrating. I too could watch the machine pull the fabric away from me. i always felt tired because I felt like I was fighting my machine to sew straight. I too tried lots of the same guide tricks (tape, sticky notes, stiletto, 1/4"foot). Anyhoo, I once borrowed my mom's nice Brother & suddenly had a perfect 1/4". Upon further investigation I found that the feed dogs mechinism, inside the machine worked slightly different.... My White, while moving up and down actually also rotated a right to left creating IMO a slight "pull" on the fabric which I found was throwing my 1/4" off. Whereas her Brother's feed dogs truly moved only up and down and front to back -- viola no "pull" & a great 1/4"!

    I ended up ditching my White and buying cheap Brother and being happy ever since. i do love my 1/4" foot though.

  8. #33
    Senior Member hevemi's Avatar
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    When joining small pieces together I hold the ends (the side closest to myself) of the fabrics together with a stiletto, no slipping. I use a dull seam ripper as stiletto, works great.

  9. #34
    Senior Member Termi's Avatar
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    Does the bobbin cover wiggle when you sew?? If it does then that can't be a good thing. I too tried everything imaginable to obtain that 1/4". I must have tried all the 1/4" feet known to man. Also tried the sticky notes. They would pull loose at the worse time. The problem with the 1/4" feet is that they don't cover all the feed dogs on the newer machines which makes it hard for the machine to pull the fabric through evenly. Especially if you're sewing over some bulk. That's when the fabric really goes wonky. I agree that you could try lessening the pressure on the foot. I have a seam guide that came with my machine so I use that and it's worked the best. I do have to remove it when I need to change the bobbin but I butt the seam guide right up against the foot so there's no re-measuring. I just make a note of where my needle position should be. Hope this helps.

  10. #35
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Get a magnifying glass and give your foot and feed dogs a good look when they make contact. The foot may not be wide enough to cover the feed dogs completely. Some machines not made with quilting in mind do not come with a 1/4 foot so when you buy one that fits, it doesn't work as perfectly as the machines that make a 1/4 foot to match the feed dogs.
    Got fabric?

  11. #36
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    Thank you all so very much for all the help. It will be a few days until I can get back into my sewing room since we are in the process of packing and staging our house. I have printed out all the suggestions and placed the sheets in the harp of the machine so I dont loose them. I will also see if the shop can fit me in next month when I am in town. I use a shop that is approx 2 hours away due to their great customer service, so it will be awhile before i can address that suggestion.

  12. #37
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    My 301 does have markings in the throat plate which helps, but I also guide the material through with a seam ripper held down next to the 1/4" marking, so I can watch that I stay on the mark.

  13. #38
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    My feed dogs are far apart so I use a walking foot and move my needle over and that's how I get a 1/4" seam. That's the only way I can get one.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  14. #39
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    I agree with Quiltinginfla.......I use to get myself so upset about a perfect 1/4" seam...well I dont anymore....Ive learned getting a straight stitch is better....so when I do my 1/4" I just use my zigzag foot which is a 1/4" in width and it always comes out right.....and taking your time is also something you have to do until you get that look you want.....so play with your machines different feet and I bet you have one that will help you to achieve that look a straight line....happy sewing....Trish

  15. #40
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    Try using a header (small scrap of facric) run through the machine first and left attached and then begin sewing your block.

  16. #41
    Senior Member emlee51's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks for this thread! I've been struggling with a 1/4" seam forever! I'm doing a lot better with my Bernina...was sewing on a 25 yr. old Kenmore before. I just try to be consistent, and do the happy dance when everything matches!!!

  17. #42
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    The machines without dual feed (or whatever it's called) - the bottom layer next to the feed dogs will feed through just a bit faster than the top layer.

    Which is why the layer to be eased would be on the bottom (such as a sleeve cap).

    Or when sewing knits when one seam was longer than the other - the top layer would be stretched and the bottom layer would be 'relaxed' - we were told to 'sew with a relaxed bottom'

  18. #43
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I recently traded my Bernina 1260 for an Bernina Artista 185. I didn't spring for the embroidery module because I already own two stand alone embroidery machines and the software would not fit the Artista. It has an even wider throat plate than my 1260 so I had to purchase a seperate throatplate with just a small hole to keep it from eating small items or lightweight fabrics. Years ago I purchased a clear slide on extension table for my sewing machine. Just having what you are working on totally supported by the extra platform helps alot with getting a consistant seam. I actually broke the extension top at one of my retreats. Fortunately for me my husband is a machinist and was able to make me a new acrylic surface and use the legs from the broken one.
    I think the Singer Featherweights are so popular because they create a beautiful consistant 1/4 seam. I own one and if I were to do a lot of piecing I would get it out and use it more often. My Mother had one she purchased in 1936 on which I learned to sew. I gave it to my neices after she passed away as she had taught them to sew on it and they really appreciated having it. I was lucky enough to purchase one at a yardsale in mint condition for just $20. I have taken it to the few workshops I attended just because it weighs so much less than my Bernina and is so great for piecing.
    I use the trick about putting the looser fabric on the bottom and it really works to add borders especially.
    Trying to sew, quilt or read everyday.

  19. #44
    Super Member Gladys's Avatar
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    What great information! Thanks so much!

  20. #45
    Junior Member Liz92B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeneK View Post
    Some sewing machines do make it easier to get a 1/4" seam and others make it harder... I thought it was me until I got a new machine and found that my new one just "likes" to sew straight and I don't get the pulling to the inside or outside. My old one was impossible. I have a 1/4" foot with the flange --- the material rides alongside the flange to keep the seam straight. BUT my machine does not have an adjustable needle position so while I get a great 1/4" seam, I can't get the scant 1/4" to save my life.
    Denek - try wrapping a single piece of masking tape on the flange - should be just enough to give you a scant "... maybe!
    Liz / Calgary

  21. #46
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    that was my main gripe with my singer, the 1/4" of the seam went to a point, it is something to do with the feed dogs but I wanted a new machine anyway so I bought myself a Janome Memory Craft 6600 P. What a difference!

  22. #47
    Senior Member quilter41's Avatar
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    First I would check the Presser Foot pressure Next I would try using a stiletto. I cannot sew without mine. It is definately my favorite tool. Others laugh but I find it makes a difference.

  23. #48
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    Some machines have less grip on the feed dogs than others and that allows play on the seam, particularly at the end. You can use a stiletto to help guide the fabric under the needle.

  24. #49
    Senior Member DeneK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liz92B View Post
    Denek - try wrapping a single piece of masking tape on the flange - should be just enough to give you a scant "... maybe!
    What a great idea! I will definitely try that. Thanks for suggesting.

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